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How Can We Cope with Death?

"My beautiful daughter has died. How can I go on? How can God permit this?"

There is a foundational truth that you must believe: God's love and mercy are infinite. Therefore everything that happens to us in life, good and bad (from our viewpoint), is the best thing, of all possible things, for our salvation and the salvation of our loved ones.

If God allowed your daughter to have only a short life, then He believes that it was the perfect time to take her to heaven. To think otherwise would be to limit His mercy and love, and that is not possible. God is also infinitely compassionate and fair. Your daughter is His daughter also, His darling little girl. As He will with every one of His children, He will find a way to bring her home to Him. The Church has many saints, but places no one in hell. If God can find a way to bring the greatest sinners to Himself, your daughter is assured of a very high place in heaven indeed.

Our life in this world is just the start of our eternal life, and death is not the end but just a beginning. We shed our earthly body, that so often is the cause of so much pain, and begin our eternal life free of this burden. And if you believe, as many Christians do, that we will be re-united with our "glorified" bodies at the Last Judgment, our bodies will then be re-created and made eternal, like our souls. We can't comprehend how this can be, and we are not supposed to be able to, but we have God's word that it will be wonderful.

In heaven, there is no time as we know it: time measures the changes we see in material, earthly things. So it is safe to say that we will all go to Judgment at the same instant, regardless of when we die. You and your daughter will be there to greet each other and hug and talk, just as if you had both died at exactly the same time. She will not have to be without you for even a moment.

Of course, you think it would have been best if your daughter had been allowed to live. But you cannot ask God to change things so that what you think is best will happen. What happens is always what He knows is best. We will not often agree with His idea of what is best, but faith in God is trust that He knows these things better than we do.

Your daughter is infinitely happy, with a perfect body and soul, with God, praying hard for you and rooting for you to join her. And since she is infinitely happy, she must know that you will.

"I was not able to say goodbye to my father. I cry everyday and every memory of him brings me fresh pain. I feel so lost without him."

Grief is the price we pay for love.

When my own parents died, I just cried and cried. It was a terrible feeling that suddenly I was an orphan, and that the one thing in the world that I had to count on, the unconditional love that they gave me, was now gone.

We almost never get to say goodbye; try to remember that when you are with other people that you love. Leave nothing unsaid. If you have children of your own, remember to give them extra love and attention while you can. Enjoy being with them. Life is shorter than we think.

The pain of loss when someone we love dies never completely goes away. You will find yourself thinking about him at times for the rest of your life.

But there are things that you can bring to mind that will help you through. You positively will see him again, and then not have to be separated for the rest of eternity. God is infinitely merciful and loving, and will find a way to bring all of us home to Him.

Your dad's life did not end. He has just entered into a new and much better phase of his life. He will live forever, just as you will. Being with God is being in the Paradise that we were created for. It is a fulfillment and a completion. And when you pass on, you will be united with him again.

You can ask God to get messages through to your father. He will surely do this. Your father will not be able to reply, that it not the way it is, but he will hear what you have to say to him. Don't forget to thank God for doing this for you.

"My father just died. Will it do any good to pray for him? After all, hasn't he already been judged?"

Prayer always does good. God has said that He likes hearing from us. Praying for the salvation of others is the best and highest kind of prayer.

We cannot thnk that there is "time" in heaven the way there is on earth, because time is how we measure the change in material things. We know that God is unchanging. The phrase "already been judged" may have no meaning.

"My three year old son drowned in a pond in August while we were on holiday. I took my eye off him for only seconds and he disappeared. I blame myself and wonder if I am being punished for any bad things I had done.

Do you think Thomas will be ok? I worry because he didn't communicate very well here on earth and maybe he will not be understood in heaven."

You are absolutely, positively, not being punished for anything. God never punishes or rewards anyone in this life. Criminals and drug kings live in big houses and drive the best cars. Millions of good, honest people live in mud huts on the edge of starvation. The circumstance of each life is different, but we are expected to bear up under our pain and not lose faith.

Thomas has gotten a free pass into heaven, and even though his body never had the chance to mature, his soul was created whole and complete and will enjoy the happiness of eternal life with God as well as any adult. Earthly problems do not carry over. Thomas's happiness was in your hands for a brief time, but now he is in God's care. Who better?

Whenever someone dies, we always look back and think of all the things that we could have done to prevent it. But in truth, there is nothing that anyone can do. We live our lives as best we can. Since God is infinitely merciful and compassionate, we know that He always takes people home to Him at the best possible time in their life.

Since Thomas died at the age of three, we know for certain that God considered that to be the best possible time in order to be sure that Thomas could achieve salvation. There is nothing that you should have done to prevent him from passing on to God's care at that precise moment. Trust Him: His will must be done and His plan must be fulfilled for each of us.

"My friend's 19 year old son committed suicide. Is there no room in heaven for those who kill themselves?"

The Church does indeed consider it a grave sin, so on the surface it would seem to keep a person out of heaven. However, it is a doctrine of the Church that God is infinitely loving and merciful and compassionate and fair, and that His love is greater than His justice. Even Judas, who hung himself after betraying Christ, is not placed positively in hell.

God will find a way to reach out, even at the last instant of life, and find a way to save us. It does not take more than an instant to accept God's offer to come home to Him, rather than rejecting Him for all eternity. God can and will find a way to offer the gift of His saving grace to everyone. To think otherwise would limit His mercy and power, and this is absolutely impossible. There are no doubt some incorrigibly wicked people who will reject Him right up to the end, but we believe that this would be rare.

Pray for the soul of this unhappy boy. God has known for all eternity that you would do this, and took that into account at that last instant.

Remember, as much as his parents love him, God loves him even more. He is God's little boy, too. God will not desert him just because he grew terribly unhappy. God can make things possible that we cannot even dream of.   Have faith that He will find a way.

"My mother was a cancer patient. She went through traumatic pain in the last few months of her life. I can touch her no more, I can speak to her no more, I can kiss her no more; so many years I have to live without her; I wish I were dead too...

Without belief in God and Divine Justice, death is an incalculable tragedy. It is the end of everything.

Belief in God means triumph over death. Death is not seen as an end, but as a beginning. Our life on earth is only an eye blink; it is over almost before we know it. Our real life, in eternity, then begins. Although we miss people we love when they die, it is just a single phase of our eternal lives, and in some cultures is rightly celebrated with joy for the departed. You will be together with your mother again in heaven.

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